Active Patience

Good things happen when we’re patient, but only if we remain active. What? Active patience? That’s an oxymoron.

Not an “empty” active where you’re just doing things to stay busy. Rather, an “intentional” active where you’re meaningfully serving others. Carve out daily quiet time for yourself to reflect on who and how you can serve. Your acts of service will directly benefit others and also shape your character.

Your purpose in life will be revealed in waiting and serving. Even when you’re doubting, and it’s seemingly taking forever, keep serving. This is faithfulness. This is active patience.

Being patient does not mean just sitting around waiting for something to happen. It’s not a passive quality. True patience is thinking, acting, serving, and learning in a trial-and-error fashion.

Being actively patient is to be meek, not weak. Many people equate meekness with weakness. Meekness is strength under control. Think of a wild stallion that has been tamed. They are just as powerful as when they were wild but are now under control. Meekness and weakness are 180 degrees out of phase.

There is strength in humility, power in gentleness, great force in kindness, and beauty in meekness. To be meek is to possess active patience.

Late 7th century BC, near the time of the transition from the Assyrian to the Babylonia empires, the prophet Habakkuk engaged in a profound dialogue with Israel’s God. Habakkuk begins by asking how long God will allow evil to triumph. God’s reply is that He is raising up the Babylonians as His tool of correction. When the dialog concludes, Habakkuk celebrates God’s dramatic intervention for Israel in the past and prays that He will do it again. Habakkuk resolves to be actively patient for God’s coming.

1I will climb up to my watchtower and stand at my guardpost. There I will wait to see what the Lord says and how he will answer my complaint.

3This vision is for a future time. It describes the end, and it will be fulfilled. If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed.

Habakkuk 2:1 & 3 (NLT)

Wanting to speed up God’s plan has always been a challenge. Part of His plan may include a slower timetable than what you or anyone else wants. One reason God moves slowly is that He knows delays make you stronger. God knows you will benefit when things happen slowly.

So, remember, there’s no need to rush to make your life go the way you want it to go. Instead, be actively patient as you completely trust God’s plan for your life.

This post was originally published on August 19, 2018, and was republished on November 6, 2022, with the addition of a story about the prophet Habakkuk to the ending.

Published by Marc Casciani

Bridging brothers & sisters to what's important. Author of Craft Your Calling. Host of the Neighborly Love podcast.

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